Since April, Briarwood Mall has welcomed a spate of new stores, including four national retailers: Lush, the U.K.-based cosmetics company known for its handmade all-natural products; Michael Kors, featuring the designer’s handbags, clothing, and accessories; Soma Intimates, the women’s lingerie, sleepwear, and clothing retailer; and Vera Bradley, which sells colorful patterned fabric purses, luggage, and accessories. Michigan-based gift store Warm Tidings Gifts and Decor also moved in.

“We’ve been working on our national leasing for a couple years,” says Denise Murray, Briarwood’s director of marketing and business development, and that, coupled with the money the mall is putting into renovations–facelifts for the entrances, new restrooms, improvements to the food court, and a new playspace for kids (which will be ready at the end of June in the Von Maur wing) is boosting leases.

“It’s in demo mode right now,” Murray says, “but people still have nothing but positive things to say.” After 2009, the worst year ever for shopping centers, she says it’s exciting to see a turnaround–just in time for the mall’s fortieth anniversary this year. “This is an attractive market [for retailers] to be in. Ann Arbor is in a comfortable market in Michigan.”

Lush, Michael Kors, Soma Intimates, Vera Bradley, and Warm Tidings Gifts and Decor. Briarwood Mall (769-9610). Mall hours: Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.